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Hotel Rwanda - Preview

Preview by: Jack Foley

A NEW film chronicling the efforts of one man to save 1,000 people during the Rwandan genocide, ten years ago, took the audience award at the prestigious Toronto Film Festival recently.

Hotel Rwanda, directed by Terry George, and starring Don Cheadle, Nick Nolte and Djimon Hounsou, is based on the true story of hotel owner, Paul Rusesabagina, who hid potential victims from the mass killings.

It marks one of several imminent films covering the anniversary of one of the most appalling events in modern history.

Mr Rusesabagina used his influence as a prominent Hutu businessman to shelter potential Tutsi victims, who were attempting to flee killings by the Hutu militia, in 1994.

He contacted dignitaries, including former US president, Bill Clinton, the King of Belgium, as well as the French foreign ministry, to help him in his cause.

The film marks a tour-de-force for Ocean's 11 star, Don Cheadle, who has emerged, alongside Jamie Foxx, as an early Oscar contender in the best actor category.

Cheadle has consistently entertained in high-profile supporting roles, including Traffic and Swordfish.


Director, Terry George, meanwhile, is a native of Belfast, who first came to critical prominence as a co-writer on the Oscar-nominated film, In the Name of the Father, which focused on the wrongful conviction of the Guildford bombers.

The Toronto Film Festival is now seen as one of the most influential festivals in the world, where numerous multi-million dollar deals are sealed, and Oscar contenders first emerge.

Past winners have included Whale Rider and Zaitoichi.

Hotel Rwanda is just one of a string of new movies tackling the Rwandan genocide.

Others include Shooting Dogs, starring John Hurt, which started filming at the site of a massacre and employed survivors as extras.

It finds Hurt as a jaded, ageing priest, opposite King Arthur star, Hugh Dancy, as a young idealistic teacher in the capital, Kigali, and is set in the school where Belgian United Nations peacekeepers were stationed before pulling out - leaving refugees who were later killed.

Although the characters are fictional, the setting is real.

Another film finds Debra Winger as a US politician in HBO's ...Sometimes in April, about a former Rwandan Army officer coming to terms with the events of 1994.

While future projects include a French film based on Gil Courtemanche's book, A Sunday By the Pool in Kigali, which centres on a love story between a Canadian journalist and a local woman as the turmoil unfolds.

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